Posted on May 11, 2022

How free-spirited are ad filterers?

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No deep dive into the values and politics of American ad filterers—the name given to the 95% of people who use an ad blocker but still consent to be served ads—would be complete without asking ad filterers how they perceive a very special and specific demographic.


We looked at who ad filterers see when they look in the mirror, because one of the most interesting indicators of political affiliation has to do with how voters see themselves.

So what does their reflection look like? Are they artistic? Successful? Family-oriented? Self-perception can go a long way toward forming political allegiances.

We looked first at descriptors that can be grouped under the umbrella term “Bohemian.” And, when it comes to ad filterers, these free-thinkers love creativity, adventure, and keeping an open mind.

Or to be more precise: almost 3⁄4 say that they’re known for being open-minded, more than half describe themselves as bursting with creativity, and slightly less than half are adventure-seekers.

The voting pattern of free spirits

But what does it mean to self-identify as a free spirit? Which party attracts members that think of themselves as having Bohemian qualities?

It’s an interesting question, and to answer it fully we have to look at two questions: how partisans view themselves, and how they view each other. In other words: how do people who dependably vote Democrat/Republican view other members of their party…and how do they view members of the opposite party?

According to Pew Research, when Republicans were asked to describe fellow Republicans, 42% answered that “Republicans are more open-minded compared to other Americans.” And when Democrats were asked to describe fellow Democrats, 70% answered that “Democrats are more open-minded” compared to other Americans.”

This would suggest that open-mindedness is a quality that’s highly-prized by Democrats, and slightly less a priority for Republicans. This also would suggest that ad-blocking users, 73.4% of whom feel described by the adjective “open-minded” would be more likely to vote Democrat than Republican.

But things get a little more complicated when you realize how Democrats and Republicans view each other. The open-mindedness gap closes somewhat.

When asked “Is the other party a lot/somewhat more close-minded compared to other Americans,” both Republicans and Democrats pointed fingers. 64% of Republicans said that Democrats were more close-minded than other Americans, and 74% of Democrats said that Republicans were more close-minded than other Americans.

This suggests that both Democrats and Republicans view close-mindedness as an undesirable trait. From that we can infer that, when asked, members of both parties might opt to self-identify as “open-minded.”


AAX is devoted to knowing everything there is to know about ad filterers. In one previous study we looked into what makes this demographic unique, another study examined their purchasing habits, and our most recent study dug deep into ad filterer motivation: the reasons ad filterers avoid advertisements, and how and why those reasons change. Our passion for all things ad filterer is why we’ve turned our attention to an issue that’s capturing everyone’s attention: ad filterers’ political profiles. We’ve looked through the fascinating findings over at the GlobalWebIndex (GWI) to compile a new study—American Ad Blocking Users’ Political Profile—available for free download in May 2022.